Month: April 2015

Standardized testing for primary, secondary education should end

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Find my full article from The Oklahoma Daily here:

If you’ve had to take state standardized testing, you understand how much of an added stress the tests are for teachers and students alike. Testing takes up precious class time so the state can put a quantitative value on a qualitative skill. Additionally, these tests take away from students’ motivation to learn and grow.

I want to say right now that while I am against standardized testing, I am NOT against assessment. Assessments are important because they guide lesson plans, gauge student progress and monitor teacher effectiveness. Standardized testing is not an accurate use of assessment. The test happens on one day during the year and is often an inaccurate snapshot of student progress. What if the student is sick? Didn’t sleep well? Has test anxiety?

State tests aren’t even made by teachers; rather, textbook companies make them. While the companies will know the curriculum to produce the test, the tests are not developmentally appropriate for students, and, I would argue, do more harm than good.

When I was in school, the schools did a week of mock testing, then a few months later the real state test would be administered. I always thought it was a huge waste of time. Two weeks for just testing? Those are precious weeks teachers could use to help their students develop deeper understanding of content or explore something outside the curriculum in which students have an interest.

Because the state invests millions of dollars into education, government officials wants to see if the money is being spent wisely, so they assess schools by standardized testing. However, what if instead of testing, students put together a portfolio of their work that demonstrates they are meeting standards? In this way, not only would students take ownership of their learning by creating this portfolio, but also the stress of high-stakes testing would be eliminated for something more valuable.